Thursday, October 28, 2010

Discovering Parenting

When I had my son I wouldn't really say I had much of an idea what my parenting philosophy was. Of course I had some things clearly spelled out in the do's and don'ts columns. For example the do column contained cloth diapers and extended breast feeding, while the don't column contained pacifiers, television, and daily intake of sweets.

But I am not sure there is truly a way to know what your parenting philosophy is until that baby is in your arms and suddenly you have to start making on-the-spot decisions about how to respond to it. That explains how we fell into co-sleeping, how my child was almost never out of someones arms until the age of 3 months, and how we quickly rejected any cry-it-out methods of sleep training. I would say being a parent is 80% reaction and about 10% intention, with the other 10% being taken up by moments of insanity.

It has taken a good year for my husband and I to really come into our own as parents, and that is not to say that we have arrived by any means. It feels as though our parenting philosophy is daily challenged and in constant flux. But, we do know in general how we want to respond to our son and what things are really important to us as molders and shapers of this future autonomous person.

As the munchkin is approaching his one year birthday it is amazing to look back and see how far we have come. Our baby has grown so much, but it feels as though I have grown even more. My relationship with my husband has been stretched and strengthened, my relationship with my friends has adapted and grown, my relationship with God has evolved in a way I never expected and I can feel that who I am at a deep level has been changed.

Becoming a parent is about so much more then how much television to let your child watch and what type of diapers you use. It is about discovering a completely new side of yourself that can be more selfless, more giving and yet full of the most unique kind of love and joy that can only be experienced through the challenges and ups and downs of parenting.

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